How sampling transformed music | Mark Ronson | Summary and Q&A

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May 9, 2014
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TED
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How sampling transformed music | Mark Ronson

TL;DR

In this TED Talk, Mark Ronson discusses the power of sampling in music and how it allows artists to build on the things they love.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the speaker initially feel when asked to speak at TED?

The speaker initially felt unsure about what angle to take and started watching tons of TED Talks, which caused some panic.

Q: What struck a chord in the speaker while watching TED Talks?

The speaker was struck by the passionate discussions about music by Michael Tilson Thomas and Tod Machover, as well as the power of music in general.

Q: How did the evolution of sampling in music change the industry?

The advent of digital samplers allowed artists to sample from anything and everything before them, creating layered masterpieces that sampled from obscure records, leading to new and unique creations.

Q: What was the significance of the song "La Di Da Di" in the evolution of music?

"La Di Da Di" was one of the most sampled songs of all time and was reinterpreted by various artists over the years, demonstrating how samples can be used to create something fresh and new while still paying homage to the original music.

Q: How did the speaker collaborate with other TED performances to create a new piece of music?

The speaker incorporated elements from performances by piano player Derek Paravicini, who is blind and autistic, and Emmanuel Jal, an ex-child soldier turned spoken word poet and rapper, to create a unique composition that merges their artistry with his own.

Summary

In this TED Talk, Mark Ronson discusses the power of sampling in music. He shares his personal experiences and insights on how artists have used sampling throughout history to create new and innovative music. Ronson emphasizes the importance of building on the music we love and incorporating our own unique perspectives to contribute to the evolution of music.

Questions & Answers

Q: What sparked Mark Ronson's interest in TED Talks?

Mark Ronson was initially unsure about his angle for his TED Talk, so he began watching various TED Talks for inspiration.

Q: How did watching TED Talks influence Mark Ronson's perspective on music?

While watching TED Talks, Mark Ronson felt inspired by the passion that Michael Tilson Thomas and Tod Machover expressed for music. Their speeches stirred something in him and reminded him of the power of music.

Q: How did Mark Ronson approach writing his TED Talk?

Mark Ronson started writing down notes on every TED Talk that resonated with him, creating a collection of ideas that he could potentially incorporate into his own speech.

Q: How does Mark Ronson describe the past 30 years of music?

According to Mark Ronson, the past 30 years of music have been characterized by the ability to sample from various sources. The introduction of digital samplers allowed artists to incorporate snippets of existing music into their own creations, creating layered and innovative soundscapes.

Q: Why did artists like De La Soul and the Beastie Boys sample records?

Mark Ronson explains that artists like De La Soul and the Beastie Boys sampled records not out of laziness or a desire for familiarity, but because they heard something in the original music that they wanted to inject themselves into. They were drawn to obscure and unique sounds that they could use as their own creative canvas.

Q: How does Mark Ronson describe the process of sampling in music?

Mark Ronson describes sampling as taking something you love and building on it. It's a way of incorporating your own perspective and contributing to the evolution of the music you admire.

Q: Can you give an example of a heavily sampled song?

Yes, Mark Ronson mentions that the song "La Di Da Di" by Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick is one of the most sampled songs of all time. It has been sampled 547 times and has provided endless sound bites and samples for future pop records.

Q: How did Mark Ronson personally relate to the song "La Di Da Di"?

During Mark Ronson's childhood, he loved the song "Wild Boys" by Duran Duran. To feel connected to that song, he formed a band with other kids and performed it at a school talent show. Despite being booed off stage, he enjoyed the experience of being part of the song's history for a moment.

Q: How did the Notorious B.I.G. reinterpret "La Di Da Di"?

The Notorious B.I.G. reinterpreted "La Di Da Di" on his hit song "Hypnotize." While the original song held fond memories for Biggie as a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, his interpretation of it was completely his own. He made it thoroughly modern and unique to his own style.

Q: How has sampling evolved in recent years?

Mark Ronson notes that in recent years, there has been a trend of rap and pop artists sampling massive '80s tunes and disco records. However, he also emphasizes the importance of bringing something fresh and new to the samples instead of simply hijacking nostalgia.

Takeaways

Mark Ronson highlights the transformative power of sampling in music. He encourages artists to build on the music they love and incorporate their own unique perspectives. Sampling allows individuals to be a part of the evolution of their favorite music, creating something significant and original in the process.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker talks about his experience watching TED Talks and how it inspired him to create music.

  • He discusses the history of sampling in music and how it has evolved over the past 30 years.

  • The speaker showcases his own musical creations by combining elements from different TED performances into one piece.

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